Francis Chan Tosses His Old Church Under the Bus

Recently, Crazy Love author, Francis Chan, former pastor of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, California, gave a TED talk-esque sermon to a gathering of Facebook employees. During that talk, he shared his soul as to why he left his “megachurch” seven years ago. In short, he basically threw the fine folks of Cornerstone under the proverbial bus. Everyone there, he lamented, were a bunch of losers who never exercised their spiritual gifts and instead came to watch him perform. Francis effectively models for us the worst shepherding skills a pastor can possibly have.

A Little Background

Francis Chan, believe it or not, is a Master’s Seminary graduate. That’s right, he attended both the Master’s University (formerly The Master’s College) and the Master’s Seminary where pastor-teacher John MacArthur is president. In fact, he was a year or so a head of me in his classes when I began.

He started Cornerstone Community Church in the living room of his house in the early 90s with just a handful of people. Within a short time, the study grew exponentially, and they began meeting in a building. By the early 2000s, Cornerstone had grown to a few thousand members.

Francis is a gifted speaker. He also has a winsome enough personality that he was able to pull together many fine men to help lead his church. I happen to know a few of them from TMS. My wife is from Simi Valley, which is just 20 minutes or so away from where we currently live. Several of her friends from college attended Cornerstone and absolutely loved it. They loved the teaching, the fellowship, and the many opportunities they had for serving.

I personally wasn’t a fan of Francis. He was a nice enough guy and I certainly appreciated his passion. His attempted exposition of the Scriptures, however, was a bit too shallow for me. It was more like topical preaching, rather than expositional. For instance, he would race through an entire chapter of a book in one message, sometimes two, depending upon what he was addressing.

Additionally, the church atmosphere was too causal. I spoke with one guy who visited there who likened the worship service to attending a college retreat every Sunday. There was lots of CCM for worship, and people showing up for church dressed like they just rolled out of bed.

Francis’s Magical Faith Journey

In April, 2010, Francis invoked charismatic whimsy, announcing to the dismay of pretty much everyone at Cornerstone that he was stepping down as pastor.  Clothed in a pair of faded jeans and a tee shirt, he shakily explained how “God was leading him” in a new direction. He was taking his family on a spiritual walk about to find God’s will for his life. See Justin Taylor’s article about it HERE.

Francis wasn’t sure where his journey was taking him. He planned some trips to a few large U.S. cities to “pray and walk” them to find God’s direction. He was then travelling to the third world to hang out for two or three months.

Many popular evangelical commentators weepily applauded his decision, wishing they had his boldness to drastically step out on faith like he did. More sensible believers, on the other hand, thought he was impulsively flying by the seat of his pants.  I thought to myself at the time, “Where in the Bible does God call people to aimlessly wander around in order to find His will?” He was justifying his rash decision to abandon his church by using spiritual lingo. If a year into his journey he crashes and burns, God is to blame because He was the one who called him.

Moreover, Francis expressed a heart for an urban, inner-city environment. I wondered why Christians have such a romantic fixation with the third-world and the inner-city. For some reason, they never sense God calling them to rural Kentucky or Ohio. Furthermore, Francis lived just 40 minutes from downtown LA. If he genuinely had a heart for city work, he should look out his backdoor.

My friend, Dan Phillips, wrote a brilliant, must read blog post warning against a leader exercising such irresponsible, foolish decision making. A pastor claiming God is calling him to wander the earth to find God’s will is ultimately harming the people he is shepherding. He is merely modeling for them conduct that can potentially leads a person to disaster. The comments under that post are also worth the read as well.

The Facebook Gathering

Fast-forward to present day 2017. Thankfully, God conveniently led Francis back to his hometown of San Francisco. There, he now has access to the computer-tech industry and that affords him speaking gigs with folks at Facebook. During his recent talk, he opened up more as to why he left his church seven years ago.

But Chan felt the megachurch he founded was not as God intended it to be.

“I got frustrated at a point, just biblically,” Chan said during a talk in Facebook headquarters in California last Thursday. “I’m going wait a second. According to the Bible, every single one of these people has a supernatural gift that’s meant to be used for the body. And I’m like 5,000 people show up every week to hear my gift, see my gift. That’s a lot of waste. Then I started thinking how much does it cost to run this thing? Millions of dollars!”

“So I’m wasting the human resource of these people that according to Scripture have a miraculous gift that they could contribute to the body but they’re just sitting there quietly. … [T]hey just sit there and listen to me.”

Moreover, he felt the church wasn’t following God’s command to love one another — attendees would simply greet each other for 30 seconds and mainly hang out in cliques once a week.

“I was like, ‘God, you wanted a church that was known for their love. You wanted a group of people where everyone was expressing their gifts. … We’re a body. I’m one member, maybe I’m the mouth. But if the mouth is the only thing that’s working and … I’m trying to drag the rest of the body along, chewing on the carpet …”

The entire article can be read HERE. (Oh. And by the way, be warned. It’s a Christian Post article, which means you will be bombarded with pop-up ads, so have your ad blocker on full alert).

Allow me to deconstruct his comments

– Let’s consider the setting. He is making his remarks to a group of Facebook employees. Now maybe it is a Facebook employee Bible study group, who knows. I find it extremely distasteful that Francis would choose to publicly disparage his former church in the presence of unbelievers, at an organization that has a reputation of hostility toward the Christian faith.

– I happen to know a number of people who attended Cornerstone, and some who still do. It is a gross slander for him to paint his former congregation as a bunch of spiritually lazy bums who only came around to hear him speak. They were all actively involved with ministry. They served one another, as well as the local community. Many people gave their time, energy, and money to further both national and international missions. How he can say they are wasting their spiritual giftedness is a baffling lie.

– He complains they hung out in cliques. You mean like their fellowship groups? You mean with their friends? I’ve heard Christians opine against “cliques” over the years, but what on earth is wrong with a clique?

My wife and I are raising children. The friends we hang out with are other couples raising their children. Both of us were once single. We both hung out with like-minded, single friends. There is nothing shameful or unspiritual about cliques, and Christians should disabuse their wrong thinking about the idea.

Amusingly, the article goes on to report about Francis’s new ministry endeavor he calls, We Are Church. (That doesn’t sound cultic at all!),

There are currently 14 to 15 house churches, he said, and 30 pastors (two pastors per church) — all of whom do it for free. [Heaven forbid a church financially support a pastor full-time – Fred]. Each church is designed to be small so it’s more like family where members can actually get to know one another, love one another and make use of their gifts.

“We’ve got a few hundred people now and it costs nothing,” Chan explained. “And everyone’s growing and everyone’s having to read this book (Bible) for themselves and people actually caring for one another. I don’t even preach. They just meet in their homes, they study, they pray, they care for one another. They’re becoming the church and I’m just loving it and realizing that these 30 guys [are] leading this and the women as well.”

Perhaps I’m a nit-picker, but 14 to 15 small house churches with everyone meeting together to pray, study, and care for each other like a family sounds rather cliquey to me.

– The reasons he gives in his talk for leaving Cornerstone, contradict the vague, squishy reason he gave immediately after he left. See HERE.

– If he wearied of leading a church bloated with spiritual deadbeats, did he not think to bring his concerns before the leadership? Why not address his concerns before the congregation? He could have given a series of sermons that challenged the church to step up their ministry game. Instead, he blames God for calling him away.

– Shepherds generally set the tone for their congregation to follow. If the church was nothing but a massive flophouse for Christian bums, what should that tell us about Francis the pastor?

I will grant that troubled churches exist. A pastor can give his heart and soul to a body of believers who will in the end reject him. I think of Jonathan Edwards’s infamous dismissal from his pulpit by the church he pastored for 20 plus years.

That stated, there is an underlying selfishness revealed in his comments that all pastors will do well to take heed. He complains they were there just to hear him speak. That he had to drag them along “chewing on the carpet.” No one was following God’s commands to love one another.  That is a terrifically narcissistic attitude. It is all about the people serving him, not about him serving the people. May we avoid at all cost the Francis Chan model of shepherding.

 

40 Comments
  1. Richard 2 weeks ago

    You do a good job of identifying the diseased doctrine that led Francis to do some of the things that he did/does. I’m always amazed by the folks who want everyone to do ministry for “free” when the NT is very clear that a faithful shepherd is worthy of support, and that such an arrangement is actually desirable (see 1 Corinthians 9 and 1 Timothy 5:17-18). Much of that thinking flows from men who really don’t have the kind of love for the church that would lead them to devote their entire life to the work, especially if it meant that they were entirely DEPENDENT upon a local church for their livelihood. In other words, they want autonomy. You can be sure that Chan and others derive a living in SOME way. It isn’t any more virtuous to receive financial income outside the church than it is from the church, so long as you are faithful in your work. The reason I focus in on the financial aspect is because I think it identifies a thread that often runs through the “crazy love” kind of approach to the Christian life. That thread is, “look at me!” “Look at how virtuous I am, how selfless, how disinterested in what everyone else seems interested in, etc.” In the name of being “selfless” they put a big ole spotlight on themselves. Very, very, dangerous.

  2. Cris 2 weeks ago

    This is an incorrect picture of what Francis Chan has shared. He has a plethora of video sermons available online, which make very clear, the point he’s making. If you’d like, perhaps confront him, as a brother, bringing church discipline in a biblical manner, rather than “throwing him under the bus”.

    Perhaps there’s a bias, given his desire to be Spirit led & directed. I know that TMU is not friendly toward that type of thing. (See “Strange Fire” conference materials) I’m quite frankly, shocked at the spirit of this article & don’t see a lot of love there.

    Sure there’s a little more going on here, than meets the eye……just sayin’….

    • David Pauley 2 weeks ago

      Chris, Chan has spoken in a number of very public forums and therefore SHOULD and MUST be corrected publicly. In Scripture, when Peter was in danger of dishonesty about the Gospel, Paul confronted him in a pubic setting (Gal 2:11-14) because of his influence and impact on others…because what he done was viewed by all, it had the danger of widespread harm to the church…as is the case with Chan.

      The reason why you must not restrict the confrontation to the Matthew 19 pattern is the infectious misinformation that has been distributed to the whole church by bad doctrine and/or dangerous ideologies. What Chan said even infected a few people at the church I pastor. He must be addressed publicly in order to protect the many Christians who may potentially be misled by Chan.

      And no, Chan is not being misrepresented by this article. His preaching is somewhat shallow, it is not true exposition, and his bailing out of his pastoral duties was wrong headed and unScriptural. A sound pastor would have done differently by his congregation, and he failed them. His primary responsibility was to Cornerstone. He has publicly misrepresented them, and instead of shepherding them, he has bailed on them to pursue his own spiritual “journey”.

  3. Profile photo of Fredman Author
    Fredman 2 weeks ago

    Chris writes,
    – I’m quite frankly, shocked at the spirit of this article & don’t see a lot of love there.-

    Really? You seriously don’t think Francis did anything wrong going to a group of unbelievers and talking trash about his former church? Especially stuff that is not true given that I happen to know a lot of the people he claims aren’t spirit filled and using their gifts. Francis slandered them publicly and he owes them a public apologies. Utterly shameful what he did.

    • Cris 2 weeks ago

      Jesus said that He would spew the lukewarm, of the Laodacaen church, out of His mouth……while Francis shares a different relationship with them, obviously, as their pastor, I think frustration at the lacsadasical church, is a Chist-like attitude, based on scripture.

      Perhaps the many sermons he preached, calling them to action, we’re sufficient in God’s eyes.

      No, I don’t think the tone of this article is kind or gentle, and as such, not in a spirit of love & reconciliation….

      • Profile photo of Fredman Author
        Fredman 2 weeks ago

        – I think frustration at the lacsadasical church, is a Chist-like attitude, based on scripture.-

        Cornerstone was never, nor is it now, a Laodacean church. They are not lukewarm. If that is the idea you are taking away from Francis, that is a lie and slander against them. He is falsely accusing them and he needs to repent.

  4. Gillian 2 weeks ago

    Enjoyed learning more about this and understanding better why I don’t agree with FC. Only thing I disagree with is the clique breakdown. You may see that word differently, but to me a “clique” implies 2 things:

    1) You only spend time with those whom you think you are best suited to get along with.

    2) You exclude those who don’t fit your cliques specific profile.

    I that I think as Christian’s this is completely unbiblical and against what Jesus did himself in His life’s entirety even by fellowshipping with tax collectors and prostitutes. I understand that of course there will be those who we find closer friendships with and end up spending more time with over others. We don’t all have to be best friends. This however does not mean we should exclude getting to know others or not include others from things because they are different or may not fit our social profile. As one body the church we are to be just that…ONE body, not a bunch of different cliques. Unity should be the goal. Always.

  5. Profile photo of Fredman Author
    Fredman 2 weeks ago

    – 1) You only spend time with those whom you think you are best suited to get along with.

    2) You exclude those who don’t fit your cliques specific profile.-

    If you define clique in our modern vernacular that is found in such movies as Mean Girls and Breakfast Club, I agree. I take clique to mean those people who share values, common goals, desires, and look after one another. Something I have always experienced in all the various “cliques” I’ve been apart of in church.

    What I see Francis doing birthing his new house church denomination is creating a new clique. Eventually, anyone who doesn’t buy into their small groups home church view of Christianity will not fit into their “clique.”

  6. Javier 2 weeks ago

    I felt this way for a while about Chan. I figured it was just me, that I was missing something.

  7. Adam 2 weeks ago

    You can add to this article that Francis Chan took every opportunity to praise himself and his accompliments.

    To that point he literally opened his message by reading a letter that praised himself.

    So I now know Chan is a great dad, a millionaire author, but super humble enough to give it all away, he grew a church from his living room to 5,000, he’s been on the cover of a magazine, he’s a gifted speaker, he called everyone in his yearbook to spread the gospel, and his new home church movement will double every year so it can reach 1.5 million people.

    • Anon 2 weeks ago

      Food for thought. Who is it, that causes the growth of the Church? God gets the credit, not our pastors. Yes. Pastors are responsible and held accountable but the growth of the actual members of Christ’s church belongs to God alone.

  8. Amy 2 weeks ago

    We actually did Crazy Love as our small church group study. Among our group were seasoned Christians, newer believers (like my husband), and a couple that had recently left the LDS church. I remember being really bothered by a few things that we watched in the videos that came with the study. For example, the idea that saving money or having a 401K is displaying a lack of trust in God and his provision in your life. I’m just sitting there scratching my head like, “How is being prepared in the modern world displaying a lack of trust in God’s provision?”. Sadly, the worst part in the video was where Francis discusses a funeral service that he was taking part in . . . .he says that he wondered if that person were even really going to heaven because the individual’s life did not appear to be fruitbearing apparently up to his standards. The LDS couple who were seeking a new relationship with Jesus after being in a cult that works their followers to death in order to display “holiness” and achieve the celestial kingdom by good works were so turned off that they left our small group. I remember my husband having significant anxiety that perhaps we were lukewarm because we weren’t doing it the F.C. way and maybe we wouldn’t be going to heaven. Maybe attending church twice a week in addition to small group, tithing dutifully, teaching VBS every year, volunteering for the meal ministry, homeschooling our children and teaching them Christian theology and doctrine without fail daily for 5 years isn’t enough. . . maybe we needed to turn our house into a homeless shelter and live in a tent instead and do inner city ministry, give away all of our savings so we are penniless, be missionaries in Iraq or at the very least be roadside preachers with pamphlets and signs, you know, practice real life suffering and martyrdom, in order to be saved. . . super CRAZY love style. I said, “Well, if we are called to do those things, then we will know it. Right now, we are called to raise these three kids and train them up in the way they should go. That’s the mission field we are in and we are doing it the best we can.”

  9. Kenneth Steadman 2 weeks ago

    Don’t have a dog in the fight, as they say, because I know very little about Chan, the church for which he was the formerly sheepherder, or DTWN for that matter. My two cents is this: if you want to use your “historical” definition of clique, ESPECIALLY as it applies to those in a local church, your are sadly delusional. A clique in the local church is indeed “Breakfast Club” exclusionary/same-mindedness that is detrimental to church unity. A clique isn’t always a group of friends. (In fact, some cliques are constituted of people who may not even like each other!) . Ask 10 people what a clique is in a church and you would be hard-pressed to find the “friendly” definition. Just sayin….

    • Profile photo of Fredman Author
      Fredman 2 weeks ago

      Okay Kenneth, if you say so.

  10. Leigh 2 weeks ago

    I read through your article and wondered what your motive was in writing it? The things you were accusing FC of (and I have barely listened to him, so don’t have an accurate picture of him) seemed that you were doing exactly the same by criticising him and putting yourself in the spotlight as to be the “right” person and sharing on Facebook for all to see. So how is what he did any different than what you did?
    I wondered what your main motive was in writing this?

    • Profile photo of Fredman Author
      Fredman 2 weeks ago

      Leigh writes,
      – I read through your article and wondered what your motive was in writing it?-

      I was motivated by the fact that Francis took an opportunity to lie against and trash talk his old church in a hypocritical fashion.

      – So how is what he did any different than what you did?-

      I didn’t bad mouth and lie against a church in front of a company of unbelievers.

  11. Lorna Couillard 2 weeks ago

    I saw no blaming God from Mr. Chan. He spoke his heart, and I’m sure he expected this kind of response before he ever spoke. This article exemplifies why I, and MANY other’s are done with organized church and religion, of any kind. Jesus is absent.

    • Profile photo of Fredman Author
      Fredman 2 weeks ago

      Lorna writes,
      – He spoke his heart, and I’m sure he expected this kind of response before he ever spoke. –

      Yes. He did speak his heart. Which means he lied about why he initially abandoned his old church. He also lied against what his old church was all about. They were, and still are, a very spirit filled, serving church who love each other and people. Everything he told those Facebook employees was wrong and he needs to apologize.

      • Susan 2 weeks ago

        You are confusing though. In the beginning of the article, you criticize and say you didn’t care for his church. But then you praise the church and defend them in yiur responses. It seems you folks at P&P dislike anyone well known with successful ministries and grasp at any straw to criticize. Meanwhile, you sit behind your computers churning out negative articles….

        • Profile photo of Fredman Author
          Fredman 2 weeks ago

          Susan states,
          – You are confusing though. In the beginning of the article, you criticize and say you didn’t care for his church.-

          I wrote that I was not a fan of Francis’s teaching (never have been) and that the church was too causal. That does not mean the people there are spiritless bums not doing a thing for the Kingdom of God, and just hanging around to hear Francis.

          – It seems you folks at P&P dislike anyone well known with successful ministries and grasp at any straw to criticize.-

          This is Bible-Thumping Wingnut, not Pulpit and Pen. I have no affiliation with them. May wanna redirect your complaint to them. Can you direct me to the negative articles I am churning out?

  12. Charlie 2 weeks ago

    We should practice what the the Lord told us to do if a brother sins against us. If you feel that convicted about it your FB page and website have the publicity/recognition to address this directly with him instead of gossiping and stirring up the water. Check Matt. 18:15-17. This isn’t to throw dirt either way. But if FC is in the wrong you are too for gossiping about it.

    • Profile photo of Fredman Author
      Fredman 2 weeks ago

      A couple of thoughts. First, I doubt seriously if I even attempted to contact him about my concern he would even pay me the least bit of attention. Oh sure, he may give a gratuitous “thanks for sharing” response, but he wouldn’t care. In fact, he’d probably respond like a lot of the head-waggers bugged by my post, and say I don’t understand, or my tone was off putting, or some such nonsense.

      Second, his lecture was public. It was posted on his public FB Crazy Love fan page. It’s fair game for criticism. I do not owe him some secret phone call first so as not to hurt his feelings and the feelings of people who are reading my comments.

      One final word. Not sure how you are defining “gossip.” Gossip is talking about someone’s sin, the details of which are not true, or confirmed to be true, or not widely known. Francis sinned against that church openly and publicly for the whole world to see and for his words to hurt and destroy the people who once called him pastor. It may be helpful for you to have a bit of perspective about this.

  13. Charlie 2 weeks ago

    Fredman
    It is posted on the FB page which makes it open for criticism, it also opens it up for mis interpretation. Your right reaching out to FC probably won’t get you a response. But I will say this last thing. If Francis publicly sinned against them you privately sin by gossiping about it. If this has truly upset you cause he threw your friends/church under the bus, then you should address him. If he does not answer get more people to reach out to him. If he doesn’t respond to any of your accusations then you can call him out publicly.
    I have no bias because I don’t know either of you.

    Thanks brother for your zeal and passion For the bride. Grace and peace.

  14. Cynthia 2 weeks ago

    My thought on cliques, and maybe I’m wrong, is that they are good for a church that is overly large. I go to a very small church, everyone is in the clique. But in a large church it is difficult to know everyone, you all can’t meet for coffee at the local Cafe if you have 10,000 going. And shouldering everyone’s burdens in prayer would be impossible. I would imagine having a small group who know you, your family and life would be easier. The burdens you share they will understand if they have a similar burden. Also, and this is where I could be completely wrong, Jesus himself had a bit of a clique with his apostles. There were mainly the 12. They prayed for one another and worked together. They had similar stories and each had a specific reason and purpose for being in the inner circle. Jesus didn’t just allow anyone and everyone to join his clique. They were carefully chosen, right down to the one who would betray him. So the word clique has terrible connotations but the reality is that when it’s used in the right way it becomes a very good thing.

  15. Jared 2 weeks ago

    As someone who grew up roughly 1000 ft from Cornerstone, had several family members involved early at that church, and was myself exploring making the church my home with my new wife when Francis Chan announced that he was finally leaving… I will say that Freedman is right and even that what FC claimed in that meeting was a self-aggrandizing lie. Make no mistake about it, FC left Cornerstone to pursue a writing and speaking career… a year later… he officially announced he was wandering on to other ministries. After the success of Crazy Love, FC was out of town so much it would have been a stretch to call him a “pastor”. He was speaking everywhere but his home church. I remember one Sunday morning where he was boasting about his speaking engagement in Hawaii that he had just returned from and that he was then traveling up to Northern California the next day and then would be flying back east and would be gone for the next couple weeks… I then leaned over to my wife and joked how grateful I was that he was able to penciled us in today. So he has no right to claim, “And I’m like 5,000 people show up every week to hear my gift, see my gift,” because he wasn’t there for those 5,000 people to hear or see his gift, he was sharing his gift elsewhere and he absolutely loved the limelight he was in at that time.

  16. Steve 2 weeks ago

    What?!? BTWN posted an article in the name of “discernment” criticizing an evangelical for violating a 2nd or 3rd tier issue with which they disagree? The world of “discernment ministries” (an extra-biblical “ministry” by the way) grows more exclusive and critical by the hour.

    I do not agree with everything Chan teaches or writes … nor anyone else I can think of for that matter. I do respect that in the mega-church world of creating movements centered upon the preaching and personality of a single person (which discernment ministries are also quick to criticize) that Chan believed God was leading him down a different path that took him out of the spotlight.

    My guess is the real issue here is Francis Chan and the fact he is a) a continuationist and b) indirectly associates with some evangelicals with whom the vocal minority in the “discernment ministries” world disapprove.

    I trust Chan walks in step with the Holy Spirit and seeks to follow Jesus. He believes and preaches the gospel. Therefore I trust God is sovereign enough to lead Chan in ways beyond my approval.

    Press on Francis Chan.

    • Profile photo of Fredman Author
      Fredman 2 weeks ago

      Steve writes,
      – What?!? BTWN posted an article in the name of “discernment” criticizing an evangelical for violating a 2nd or 3rd tier issue with which they disagree?-

      Whatya mean a 2nd or 3rd tier issue? He flat out lied against his former church. As I noted in the article, the reason he gave for leaving back in 2010 is not the reason he gives today, 2017. That is hardly a 2nd or 3rd tier issue. He needs to repent.

      Continuing,
      – I do not agree with everything Chan teaches or writes … nor anyone else I can think of for that matter. –

      Do you agree when you hear them lie against something you know the truth about? I hope not.

      – My guess is the real issue here is Francis Chan and the fact he is a) a continuationist and b) indirectly associates with some evangelicals with whom the vocal minority in the “discernment ministries” world disapprove.-

      My guess is the real issue here is that fact you find his aimless leap of faith talk as some genuine work of the Spirit and so dismiss when he really sins by lying against an entire church he started and then abandoned.

      • Steve 2 weeks ago

        You calling what Chan said a “lie” does not make it a lie. In my opinion, the concerns Chan speaks about with the FB crowd are the same ones he addressed when he stepped down from Cornerstone a few years ago (again using “abandon” language does not mean he abandoned the church – any more than any other pastor who is compelled to step away from a ministry). Back then he spoke of his concerns with churches being built around the personality of the pastor and not the exercise of the complete body of Christ. In the FB speech, Chan was simply addressing his concerns in general and generic terms. He was not suggesting no person was exercising their gifts and that every person at Cornerstone is spiritually lazy. He is painting with a broad brush – what each of us do when speaking of general concerns in a particular movement … like the discernment crowd tends to do when stating their opinion of almost any group outside of their own. Again – I am somewhat surprised this crowd is so worked up over Chan’s transition. They are constantly berating the megas of the evangelical world for many of same concerns that led to Chan’s departure from Cornerstone.

        I can’t speak whether Chan’s transition was an “aimless leap of faith” any more than I can any transition by any elder. So I simply have to trust that his words are genuine and his motive is pure. I have no reason to believe otherwise. I do know he exchanged a very public, nationally-known platform for a season of obscurity and limited publicity which speaks of the genuineness of his intent.

        So press on Francis Chan.

  17. Profile photo of Fredman Author
    Fredman 2 weeks ago

    Steve writes-
    -You calling what Chan said a “lie” does not make it a lie. In my opinion, the concerns Chan speaks about with the FB crowd are the same ones he addressed when he stepped down from Cornerstone a few years ago (again using “abandon” language does not mean he abandoned the church – any more than any other pastor who is compelled to step away from a ministry).-

    Did you watch the video I linked where he was interviewed like just days after he initially stepped down from Cornerstone? Did you even see his original stepping down talk he gave to Cornerstone before it disappeared? Or heck, just read the Justin Taylor blog article I linked about it. The reason he gave then for leaving is not the reason he gave to the FB group. The fact that the Christian Post is reporting it proves it is different information he is giving now than he gave then which means he is lying about the reason he left.

    Continuing,
    – Back then he spoke of his concerns with churches being built around the personality of the pastor and not the exercise of the complete body of Christ.-

    No he didn’t. When? Where? You have any talks he gave from “back then?” I happen to be rather close to this seeing it happened in my background among a lot, a lot, people that I know.

    Continuing,
    – He was not suggesting no person was exercising their gifts and that every person at Cornerstone is spiritually lazy.-

    He literally used the very words, no one was using their spiritual gifts. Did you watch the video from the Facebook talk and did you pay attention? Fastforward to the 36 minute mark where he is being interviewed.

    – Again – I am somewhat surprised this crowd is so worked up over Chan’s transition.-

    Because when he originally transitioned, it was vague, uncertain, non-committal. He didn’t know what the heck he was gonna do. That is not how a spiritual leader is to make a decision. If you were a father and a guy like that wanted to marry your daughter and he was not sure as to why or where he was going in life, I would hope you would tell him to take a hike until he has it figured out. But if you seem to be devoted to his defense, so I can only conclude you like living your spiritually life with such whimsy.

    – I do know he exchanged a very public, nationally-known platform for a season of obscurity and limited publicity which speaks of the genuineness of his intent.-

    He never got obscure. Are you kidding? He was obscure as a pastor in LA suburbia, and if he genuinely wanted humility, he would have stayed in that position. In fact, after his Crazy Love book was a smash, he was rarely in his pulpit. He was speaking all over the world about his book. He exchanged an obscure pulpit to become a very public figure who continues to speak all over the place if you bother to look at his schedule. Especially now that he is running with NAR wolves.

    • Steve 2 weeks ago

      Okay Fredman – Chan is a liar and wolf. Add him to the “discernment ministries” list of another reformed guy who is a false teacher and needs to repent. Who is not on the list at this point?

      Do you think Francis Chan believed he was the ONLY person in Cornerstone exercising a spiritual gift?
      Do you think Francis Chan believed EVERY person at Cornerstone was spiritually lazy?

      Come on.

      I agree Chan was not crystal clear in his resignation regarding his next step. And I am okay with the vagueness. The pursuit of a next step is not always clear. I also know he has been speaking regularly of the house church movement he is now a part of for a long time. And again, I tend to trust people who have a heart for Jesus, walk in the Spirit, and preach the gospel.

      And we can agree to disagree on whether his chosen path has brought more or less publicity … it is a moot point.

      I will bow out of the conversation … as most of the evangelical world has discovered – it is pointless to argue with wingnuts.

  18. Profile photo of Fredman Author
    Fredman 2 weeks ago

    – Do you think Francis Chan believed he was the ONLY person in Cornerstone exercising a spiritual gift?

    That is what he literally said, Steve. Without qualification.

    – Do you think Francis Chan believed EVERY person at Cornerstone was spiritually lazy?-

    That is exactly what he implied without any qualification. If you take him at his word as to why he left, why not now?

    -I agree Chan was not crystal clear in his resignation regarding his next step. –

    Not crystal clear? He gave two conflicting, contradictory reasons why he left.

    – And I am okay with the vagueness. –

    I’m not. God never mumbles.

    – I also know he has been speaking regularly of the house church movement he is now a part of for a long time. And again, I tend to trust people who have a heart for Jesus, walk in the Spirit, and preach the gospel.-

    The house church movement is rife with people who don’t like church and typically have a disdain for authority and gravitate toward similar individuals with strong personalities.

    – And we can agree to disagree on whether his chosen path has brought more or less publicity … it is a moot point.-

    The dude has his own section in the CBD catalog, along with Joel Osteen and TD Jakes. Are you serious?

    • Steve 2 weeks ago

      Add him to the list … of course we both know he was already on the list long before his Facebook speech for the non-essential reasons outlined in my first reply.

  19. J.R. Duren 2 weeks ago

    1) A shepherd leaving his church is not “unbiblical” as some have said.

    2) Your argument is based on your pre-existing distaste for Chan and the word of a few Cornerstone people you know. Hearsay at best; why should I trust your word over Chan’s?

    3) You are calling Chan a list. Point out the inconsistencies in the initial and later reasons why he left.

    4) The NT says the church should support it’s teachers but nowhere does it say you must take a salary, just like it fails to mention that it’s wrong for a pastor to leave his flock

  20. Profile photo of Fredman Author
    Fredman 2 weeks ago

    JR states,
    – 1) A shepherd leaving his church is not “unbiblical” as some have said.-

    That is true. It is not unbiblical for a shepherd leaving his church. What is unbiblical however is:
    A) A pastor leaving his church without any serious plan in place as to where he is going except for the vague murmurings he think is God telling him something. God doesn’t call pastors away from pastoring their church based on hunches and whims without anywhere to really go to.
    B) The reason Francis originally gave for leaving contradicts the reason he states in this recent talk. That’s a problem.

    Continuing,
    – 2) Your argument is based on your pre-existing distaste for Chan and the word of a few Cornerstone people you know. Hearsay at best; why should I trust your word over Chan’s?-

    That is mostly true. I have a distaste for a man who lie to their churches and then go to a group of unbelievers and trash talk them as a bunch of spiritual dead people who let him down. I happen to know A LOT of people at Cornerstone and they will confirm my words here, as many have been doing on my FB posting of this, so you are speaking out of your ignorance.

    Moving along,
    – 3) You are calling Chan a list. Point out the inconsistencies in the initial and later reasons why he left.-

    Those reasons are clearly delineated in the video links I supplied above. Did you bother to watch them? Again, Francis initially claimed that God was calling him to some uncertain, cloudy future. He had to walk cities and pray (That is exactly NOT the way to determine God’s Will, btw). That was 2010. Now he is claiming he left because the people at his big church were spiritually lazy and doing nothing but coming to hear him speak and he was this mouth dragging along this inanimate corpse behind him. That is certainly not true seeing that I know that church and the far reaching ministries it has had in SoCal. See how that is lying?

    Lastly,
    -4) The NT says the church should support it’s teachers but nowhere does it say you must take a salary, just like it fails to mention that it’s wrong for a pastor to leave his flock-

    Yes, you are correct. A pastor taking a salary (Chan gets paid even to this day, btw. He can’t live in San Francisco without money) is not demanded by the NT. If a guy wants to not take a salary, that is his prerogative. However, the Bible does not exclude a pastor from taking a salary and in fact encourages a congregation to support a pastor financially. Additionally, a man who doesn’t take a salary and does the ministry for “free” as Francis likes to boast, is no more spiritual or more noble than the man who is supported by a salary given to him by a church.

  21. Tim Leathers 2 weeks ago

    I’m sorry I wasted some of my time reading this article. You sound like a jealous pastor of a congregation of 5 whiners that nothing could make them happy. This was a judgemental vial filled article and scripture says the measuring stick you use to judge other will be used on you!! I want to say I am amazed at what Chan has done and to build house churches is probably the way to go. Having a hand full of hungry people would be far better than a building full of sideline sitters. As a pastor I have to admit I’m kinda envious of Chan and his Spiritual GUTS!!

  22. Dan Berarducci 1 week ago

    There are NONE in the world more judgmental than insecure pastors. Sadly, most have been trained to worship their “Bible colleges” and “the traditions of great godly men” (read: super successful mega-church pastors), and run their “churches” as BUSINESSES.
    I am not surprised by this attack in the least.
    The Pharisees attacked Jesus in exactly the same way. Francis is CORRECT; American fundamentalists are “doing church” WRONG. They worshipped TRADITION, and most fundamentalists (i.e., “Bible thumpers”) do also.

  23. Shaun 1 week ago

    First of all I don’t like Francis Chan’s materials. Not my taste.

    You say he did all of these things publically so you in turn feel it necessary to publically correct him for his wrong doings.

    Sad really that you feel like it is your responsibility to do so. I could understand if you were part of his leadership team, or even a member of his former church. Who are you to put into question what he feels God has called him to do.

    Grow up.

    • Profile photo of Fredman Author
      Fredman 1 week ago

      -You say he did all of these things publically so you in turn feel it necessary to publically correct him for his wrong doings.-

      Yes. When a pastor lies about his congregation publicly, it is necessary to rebuke him publicly for that wrong doing.

      – Sad really that you feel like it is your responsibility to do so.-

      It should be all Christians responsibility to confront untruth and lies being spoken by a supposed pastor when we personally know the truth.

      – Who are you to put into question what he feels God has called him to do.-

      God does not call Christians to lie. He especially doesn’t call a pastor to lie against his former church.

  24. Donkey 6 days ago

    Or, the Holy Spirit has simply revealed Jesus’ heart to Francis regarding rampant Diotrephes/Nicolaitan leaven that He hates so much.

    • Profile photo of Fredman Author
      Fredman 6 days ago

      – Or, the Holy Spirit has simply revealed Jesus’ heart to Francis regarding rampant Diotrephes/Nicolaitan leaven that He hates so much.-

      Which was no where in the church that HE PASTORED.
      Of course, if there was that spiritlessness in his church, why is he not to blame? I mean, he is THE PASTOR, right?
      SO instead of praying for revival, he decides to bail on them and do his own thing? Got it. That is how the Holy Spirit leads, I suppose.

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